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The Unholy Three (1925)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 16 August 1925 (USA)
A sideshow ventriloquist, midget, and strongman form a conspiracy known as "The Unholy Three" and commit a series of robberies.

Director:

Tod Browning

Writers:

Clarence Aaron 'Tod' Robbins (story) (as Tod Robbins), Waldemar Young (scenario)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Lon Chaney ... Echo - The Ventriloquist
Mae Busch ... Rosie O'Grady
Matt Moore ... Hector McDonald
Victor McLaglen ... Hercules
Harry Earles ... Tweedledee
Matthew Betz ... Detective Regan
Edward Connelly ... Judge
William Humphrey ... Attorney for the Defense (as William Humphreys)
E. Alyn Warren ... Prosecuting Attorney (as A.E. Warren)
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Storyline

Three sideshow performers leave their lives of captivity and become "The Unholy Three." Echo the ventriloquist assumes the role of a kindly old grandmother who runs a bird shop. Tweedledee, the "twenty inch man," becomes her grandbaby, and Hercules is their assistant. Soon an incredible crime wave is launched from their little store. Written by David Ezell <dezell@cody.gac.peachnet.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 August 1925 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Trindade Maldita See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$103,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$704,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(DVD)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Black and White | Color (tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was remade as a talkie in 1930, also starring Lon Chaney and Harry Earle. For the former, the remake would be his only talkie picture. See more »

Goofs

The Ape at the pet store is clearly a chimpanzee, but is depicted as larger than a real chimpanzee can grow. See more »

Quotes

Professor Echo, the ventriloquist, aka Mrs. 'Granny' O'Grady: You - filth! Do you not realize that you killed a man? This is why I always said we never carry a gun!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Turner Classic Movies showed an 86-minute version with a music and sound effects that was recorded in the 1970s by MGM from a stock music library for syndication. The tints for this edition are incorrect. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Devil's Rejects (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Browning Version
26 October 2009 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

In an effort to make more money than they do as traveling carnival show attractions, velvet-voiced ventriloquist Lon Chaney (as Echo), baby-impersonating dwarf Harry Earles (as Tweedledee), and strongman Victor McLaglen (as Hercules) team up to form a gang of jewel thieves who call themselves "The Unholy Three". The crooked trio begins operating out of a bird shop run by Mr. Chaney, posing as sweet "Granny O'Grady", mother of pickpocket and gang moll Mae Busch (as Rosie). The front works like a charm, but Ms. Busch attracts the attention of straight-flying Matt Moore (as Hector), who forms a "love triangle" with Chaney.

Then, an unexpected murder brings further unwelcome advances... from the police.

This was re-made as Chaney's first - and only, unhappily - sound feature, in 1930. Of the many Chaney hits, "The Unholy Three" seemed like the most obvious one to improve with sound; and, Chaney's performance in both is stellar. While the later version has problems, Chaney enhanced his already incredible performance. In this one, frequent collaborator/director Tod Browning is definitely an asset. Also remarkable is Mr. Earle, who hadn't mastered English for the re-make, but seemed fine by "Freaks" (1932); his wicked, cigar-smoking baby is classic.

"The Unholy Three" (1925) was honored as one of its year's best pictures at "Film Daily" (#2), Motion Picture Magazine (#3), and The New York Times (#3) - after winners "The Gold Rush", "The Big Parade", and "The Last Laugh". At Motion Picture, Chaney's individual performance ranked third (after "Best Actor" Emil Jannings and runner-up John Gilbert). The film is perversely appealing - which was then, and is now, a Chaney/Browning hallmark.

******** The Unholy Three (8/16/25) Tod Browning ~ Lon Chaney, Mae Busch, Harry Earles, Matt Moore


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